Zurich, Switzerland-based Maurice de Mauriac has just released a new timepiece collection, once again designed by Fabian Schwaerzler. The new series is called the Maurice de Mauriac Pillow Watch, but don’t let its bedroom-themed title distract from its sporty nature. The “pillow” name refers to the shape of the case, which is often referred to as a “cushion.” Maurice de Mauriac started working with Schwaerzler (also based in Zurich and primarily a furniture designer, if memory serves me) several years ago for the L series of watches, including the L1, L2, and L3. The Pillow Watch doesn’t have an “L series” moniker, but the design language is similar, mixing minimalism with a functional Bauhaus-themed aesthetic.

At launch, the Maurice de Mauriac Pillow Watch comes in three case material styles. The basic model is brushed natural titanium. For a higher price, you can get the pictured DLC-coated titanium model and a bronze-cased edition. What enthusiasts know (that Maurice de Mauriac doesn’t expressly state) is that the Pillow Watch is the brand’s answer to the classic Panerai aesthetic. The Pillow Watch is no visual Panerai copy, but it replicates a similar case size and wrist presence, along with a bold but very simple and legible dial-reading experience. Even though the Pillow Watch is no bargain, it comes in at a price much lower than Panerai timepieces, and it has a very hip and attractive presence on the wrist. I think this is one darn nice watch for those who know how to accessorize their outfits around it.

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The Maurice de Mauriac Pillow Watch begins with a 45mm-wide case that is water resistant to 100 meters. The case is roughly 13mm thick with a 50.5mm long lug-to-lug distance. Indeed, this isn’t a small watch, but it is designed with a rounded case shape that reduces its visual heft and allows it to wear elegantly on the wrist. The shape of the case is really quite interesting, as you have a blend of the cushion shape on the top but a more traditional curved tonneau shape on the sides. That mixed with the sloped, wide bezel and domed AR-coated sapphire crystal make for a lovely shape that is also comfortable to wear. Again, it isn’t the smallest watch out there, but Maurice de Mauriac has other more petite models. This 45mm-wide case is intentionally sized to be bold, as a military-style Panerai would be.

The deep-gray DLC coating works well and has a functional-feeling gunmetal finish. The matte-black dial is minimalist, with just a tiny bit of text and applied hour markers. Once again, Maurice de Mauriac and Schwaerzler opt for dial text that is so small in size it can be a challenge for some people to read with the naked eye. Not that you need to read the brand name and “automatic” very often, but I am a bit amused as to how small the text is. On a computer screen (when the watch is being initially designed) in an amplified size, the dial text is probably easily legible. Once you print out an actual dial, however, the text could end up being comically small. Perhaps this is intentional. Some like the look of a sterile dial without any branding or text. Others feel that sterile dials look incomplete without a brand logo. The Pillow Watch design might simply be an attempt to satisfy both aesthetic interests.

Dial legibility is, not surprisingly, very good, thanks to the high contrast between the black and blue-colored lumed sections. I also want to compliment the shape of the hands and hour markers, which are soft and easy on the eyes (like on a Panerai, for that matter). Inside the watch is a Swiss Made La Joux-Perret G100 automatic movement, which has been extremely popular lately. I think this is the first Maurice de Mauriac watch to feature a G100 movement. This is a slightly higher price point than most of the watches I’ve seen with a G100, but I have seen watches costing up to $10,000 equipped with a G100.

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The G100 in this form is given a nice gray anthracite finishing to the bridges, which you can see through the caseback of the watch. The movement operates at 4Hz and has 68 hours of power reserve. One issue is that the sound of the automatic rotor is on the louder side. I’ve noticed the same thing with Miyota 9000 series movement (the G100 is a slightly upgraded, Swiss Made version of its 9000 series Japanese cousin). Attached to the case (again, similar to Panerai) is a 24mm-wide strap in leather, but one that has a fabric-style texture on the top. I like that the stitching on the strap matches the blue color of the hour markers and hands. The overall concept of the Pillow Watch is simple, but you can see how the end result is actually quite nice and fashionable. I think this is a great new product from the Maurice de Mauriac brand, and I am happy to see that the relationship with Schwaerzler continues to be productive for the parties involved.

Pricing is on the higher side, but that is typical for this small, low-production brand (and others like it). Style and poise are always a plus side to the Maurice de Mauriac brand, which continues in full steam today by the sons of founder Daniel Dreifuss, who sadly passed away last year. Price for the Pillow Watch starts at 3,900 CHF for the natural titanium case model. That price goes up to 4,900 CHF for this DLC titanium and the bronze version of the Pillow Watch. Learn more at the Maurice de Mauriac website.

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